{ 19 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous*

    Suster writes that if you're 25 and have worked for 3 companies, you're borderline.

    As someone who is 26 and fits this description, it makes me nervous. I would like to think my particular background/industry makes my own moves understandable, but I don't doubt that I could just be rationalizing.

    AAM, I'm wondering if you could elaborate on situations where job hopping is/is not appropriate — especially since we've often seen cases from your readers where the right advice was to start looking for a better management situation?

  2. Anonymous*

    Oh my gosh! I'm 28 and I've worked for 10- I'm screwed! Except that every company I've worked for has benefited from me and refused to pay me close to what I'm worth. I'm close to my desired salary, but not quite there. If I have to leave your cheap company to pay my bills, I will. Chances are management will be better as well.

  3. Anonymous*

    Well I think the problem is it's different for each individual. For example I'm 25 and have had 7 jobs in the last 6 years. Mind you they were all 4 month co-op terms and I'm currently on a 4 month contract. I would like nothing more than to stick it out with someone but that just isn't in the cards at the moment.

    I do want to second the motion that Penelope Trunk should not be trusted. She's just way to full of the happy sauce to do anyone any good.

  4. Anonymous*

    Anonymous 8:38, by definition if you can't get paid what you're worth, it's because that's NOT what you're worth.

  5. Anonymous*

    I'm 33 and I'm currently on my 4th job. First one was 8 months, Second one was 10 years, 3rd one 6 months and most recent, I've been there 2 weeks thus far. I don't think I'm a job hopper. I made the insanely and incredibly stupid move of actually believing what salary websites tell you about what you can make in a city and what the cost of living is and moved to a podunk midwest "city" that likes to pretend it's more than it is. Rhymes with Shmomaha. So I left a job of 10 years to strike it new in this town and things have not been good since. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid. And we can't move back b/c the economy sucks balls back home. *sigh* I hope this job turns out to be more than it is currently and I can stick it out for a year or two until I finish my degree and then I can move back to civilization.

  6. Bethany*

    This is such a relief for me. I'm 25 and have worked at the same company since college graduation (almost 3 years ago now) and see so many of my friends be on their 3rd and 4th job that I almost wondered if it would look lazy that I had stayed at the same place so long when I finally go get to the point where I decide to look elsewhere (admittedly, would be if I ever moved since my current boss is all about finding new things for me to learn and do)

  7. Anonymous*

    I'm 34 and have worked for five companies, 4 of them in the last 7 years. In the last 7 years, I doubled my salary and picked up new skills that I think make me a more valuable employee. I know that if I stayed at two of my employers, I would never have moved forward — salary, skills, knowledge, etc — and that would have left me frustrated, unhappy, and ultimately, a miserable employee for my company.

    I don't regret the job hopping and I'm aware that given that I'm looking for a new job after just 7 months may hurt me. I'm looking because my company has unexpectedly lost a significant amount of business and will be laying off 70 percent of the workforce by the end of the year. My previous company had layoffs every 3 months and after the first 6 rounds, it started to really, really suck and so I started looking. So sticking with the company to show loyalty when you have a family to support just doesn't compute for me. I think job hopping says as much about the company you left and the one that hired you as much as does about you (the job seeker).

    So yes, I'm aware of the potential flags in my resume, aware that some employers may not consider me, but also, I don't regret the job hopping at all.

  8. Anonymous*

    I disagree completely.

    I'm more aligned with the person being insulted (and how immature is it to make such rude, nasty, personal comments about another writer in your niche?) who stated that job hoppers are the best employees.

    Look, the days of working for one company for one's entire career and retiring with a gold watch and a pension are over. No company in the modern marketplace plans to stay loyal to their employees and provide for their retirement. It's every man and woman for him or herself now, and if you want people with skills, you want people who ARE in it for themselves, not the company. Because they will work their asses of for a company that can provide them with personal success and fulfillment… and if working for your company is drudgery that doesn't offer fulfillment or success, change that in order to attract and keep the best!

    Skills are in high demand, especially when they're attached to young professionals who can replace retiring baby boomers. And those young professionals are already seasoned cynics who, in this economy, have probably already worked for at least one company that either went bust or abused their employees to try to stay afloat.

    Not every job hopper will be a good employee, but the idiots who toss their resumes are missing out. Besides, what self-actualized, smart career seeker wants to work for someone who can't even speak politely of a colleague?

    1. Anonymous*

      I completely agree. I have been job hopping for the last 6 years. Proud of it, not exactly, but I have learned skills that I could not have unless I moved around and got my feet soaking wet. It does not help to stay in one place if you are disrespected and unappreciated. That seems to be the general consensus in today’s job market. Employers are lions on fire and it is hard to compete with that when you are at the bottom trying to swim to the top. I can tell you pretty sad stories, but co-workers are just as bad. I had to leave my last job due to co-worker conflict. Due to his tenure, I had to be the one to leave, and he is still there. Sadly enough, I loved this job and was the one place after so long I actually wanted to stay at.

  9. De Minimis*

    My first job was a blue-collar type job in a specialized business that isn't all that directly applicable to anything else. But I had that job for nearly seven years. I left that job quite some time ago, but I still have it on my resume even though it isn't related to what I'm doing now, and I've had a lot of positive comments on it.

    I think a lot of the conventional thinking may be somewhat relaxed right now due to the economy, but someone who at least has one job lasting of a few years duration or more may have somewhat of an advantage, but probably only as far as getting that first interview.

  10. Anonymous*

    "Job hopping" depends on your career path. A good friend of mine might qualify as a "job hopper" but he is a project guy (big construction). He goes project to project with different employers. But, his resume shows that he stays until his part of a project is complete before moving elsewhere.

    The last anon. talks about skills. These are vital, but ultimately your employer wants things done. If your job needs a significant amount of ramp up time before you can handle everything – knowledge transfer, etc…- the last thing I want is a 6 month employee. A couple of stints is one thing, but a new job every 12 to 18 months will make me really question do I want you on-board to handle permanent work rather than just a particular project? The risk of me being left in the lurch by a sudden departure starts making Candidate #2 with 3 to 5 years between jobs looking significantly better.

    If you really do like project work, then do like my friend – ensure you can demonstrate that you follow the project to completion (or your stage) – on time, on budget, and with quality. You'll be fine. But if I check references and hear about broken projects because of your sudden departure, then that person becomes very risky to hire.

  11. Miss Malbec*

    i totally agree that job hopping depends on your career path. my dad is always starting new companies and selling them. or working for companies who need him and then leaving when they no longer do.

    it has always been the case that by the time i think i know who he works for he is two jobs ahead.

    but he also never needs to go to interviews because people seek him out.

  12. Liz*

    I think their take fails to recognize the changed labor market – in the last decade a LOT of talented people have had to take temporary jobs, jobs that pay less than living expenses, jobs that aren't a good fit, and so on.

    It's also a fact that loyalty to an employer is no longer rewarded. Employers have made it CRYSTAL clear that all employees are at-will, and any consideration is a favor that the employer feels free to discard if it is ever at all inconvenient.

    I think the advice is true – people definitely judge job hoppers – but I think that judgment is a failure to adjust to new realities.

    I say this as someone who worked longer than usual for my industry at all my jobs, but my industry died and a lot of good people were not rewarded for their loyalty or talent. I'm luckier than a lot of my talented, hard-working former coworkers. I do temp work because it's the only thing that pays the bills (many are relying on spouse or parents, but I don't have that option) I know no one views temp work favorably and I don't expect to change their minds. Honestly, I don't think I want to work for people that can't recognize the changing market anyway.

    I expect I'll have to start my own company if I ever want to get ahead, because after three years of temp work, I'm pretty much un-hirable. That's ok, but it's weird to see how different people refuse to see what seems very obvious: the labor market has changed drastically and I don't think it's going to change back. Judging each other and fighting over the "right" way to be an employee at this point, is just redistributing crumbs from a shrinking pie.

    1. Jamie*

      I know there is a weird stigma to temp work, but it really baffles me and I hope it’s not as pervasive as it seems.

      I was a SAHM for more years than I care to admit, doing a little consulting work along the way. When I entered the work force I temped for 18 months and I got a so much out of that.

      There can be a lot of downtime on a temp job, but there is also different software at each company…tutorials and help files are a good way to kill time while waiting for the phone to ring (on some of the slower assignments.)

      In your situation I wouldn’t look at you as someone who hopped around for three years – I’d look at you as someone who was employed at a temp agency for three years.

      Having temped – I think I would be more inclined to interview someone with your history for a couple of reasons. You’ve been in a lot of different work environments, even if you weren’t consciously job shopping you probably have a pretty good idea of what kind of corporate culture would best suit you – everyone on both sides of the interview table wants a good fit.

      Also, adaptability. A good temp can’t afford to be rigid and knows how to make the job their own. One of the soft skills of temping is adapting to your environment and figuring out how stuff really gets done…which is never in a handbook.

      You have a broad range of experiences from which to draw – that’s a huge plus to bring to the table.

      I’m not saying all temps are awesome – like all people there are good and bad…but the good ones do bring a unique set of skills to the table and it’s pretty shortsighted if people dismiss that out of hand.

  13. Anonymous*

    I agree with AAM and I wish people would have enough judgment to figure out what kind of job-hopping is being addressed here. No, not the contract work; no, not the consulting. We're talking about people who seem to systematically take off after a couple of years due to repeated poor choice of employers, inability to successfully integrate an environment or just plain greediness. Moral of the story: choose your employer carefully, and don't job-hop unless it's a significant advancement opportunity.

    As an IT executive I am quite weary of the endless resumes, people repeatedly making poor employer choices (after the 3rd-4th failed start-up you'd think they would get a clue) or people jumping ship for essentially the same thing somewhere else. I have to invest a non-trivial amount of time and money training a new employee, and I'm much less likely to do it with a job-hopper. Show me a history of loyalty and discernment regarding employer changes, and I will be more than happy to invest in developing your career.

  14. Joe*

    I agree with the sentiment here, but I have a serious quibble with his definition of what a job-hopper is. His definition of a “short-term job” is 2-3 years? That’s just not realistic in today’s world. I think that 1 year or less is “short-term”, 2-3 years is about average for young professionals these days, and anything longer than 3 years is long-term. (For the record, my first job was about 7 years, and my current job is 4 years and counting, so this is not a self defense.)

    I would be seriously worried about hiring someone who had several jobs of 1 year or less, but people who have put in 2-3 years per job, especially those in the 25-30 year old age bracket, those are not job hoppers.

Comments are closed.